Perham football falls short to defending section champion
The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels rode the legs of Ryan Poehls to a 26-12 Section 8AAA victory over the Perham Yellowjackets on Oct. 29, advancing to the Section 8AAA Championship for the fourth consecutive season.
Poehls was one of the few who were able to get traction on a sloppy field in Glyndon. The field had been tore up due to inclement weather during the week, along with the Section 8AAA quarterfinal win.
"It was well played football on both sides. Field conditions were a factor here. It got a little muddy and a little slippery," D-G-F head coach Tony Soderberg said. "That was a fun football game to watch. I thought both sides played really well."
Against Roseau, it was Garrett Scheel who led the charge for the Rebels. This time, it was Poehls turn to carry the load. The senior running back rushed for 124 yards on 14 carries. He rushed for three touchdowns and caught a touchdown as well.
"That was all up front. They were getting their blocks and getting their head on the right side," Poehls said. "I was just running through the hole they were creating."
It was the type of football game that Perham head coach Kyle Knutson expected it would be with two very physical teams.
"It was exactly what we thought it would be," Knutson said. "They are a helluva group. Our guys are a helluva group and they just came out on top."
When the Rebels needed a big play, they turned to Poehls, who delivered. He averaged more than 8 yards per carry and hauled in a 62-yard touchdown pass as well.
"He is a senior captain on our team and there is a reason he does things like that," Soderberg said. "He put in a lot of time in the weight room in the off-season and he joined track two years, so he could get faster for football. His hard work has paid off for him; he is reaping the benefits and doing the right things."
On the first play of the second quarter, Poehls was open in the defensive backfield and Ethan Edeen found him. Poehls did the rest, scampering 62 yards for the score.
"We got a couple of big plays and they got a couple of big plays, which was basically the story," Soderberg said. "It's tough to drive down the field with these conditions. It was big plays and we were lucky to get a couple more than they did."
Perham wasted little time in striking back. On the ensuing possession, the Yellowjackets faced a third and long. Jenson Beachy connected with Ty Moser on a short pass. Moser broke free into the Rebel secondary, along the sideline and went the distance for the 35-yard score, evening it at six, after both team's missed their extra point try.
After both teams punted on their next possessions, the Rebels struck again. Edeen connected with Spencer Ewen to the 1-yard line and on the next play, Poehls punched it in. Drew Stalboerger hit the extra point, making it 13-6.
It didn't take long for the Yellowjackets to strike in the second half. On the third play of the opening possession, Beachy hit Reid Moser in stride for a 58-yard touchdown pass and run, making it 13-12 after the 2-point try was no good. Beachy finished with 141 yards passing with two touchdowns on nine completions. Moser led the team with five receptions for 96 yards and a score.
A momentum turning play happened late in the third quarter. The Yellowjackets were stopped and went for the field goal. Hunter Ditterich's kick was short and caught by the Rebels at the goal line, giving the Rebels a touchback.
It remained a one point game until the fourth quarter when Poehls scampered free. He went 69 yards, giving the Rebels a 19-12 lead after a missed extra point.
The Yellowjackets were pinned deep in their own territory after a punt, and were hoping to drive 95 yards for the score. However, a fumble near the 28-yard line gave the Rebels the ball back.
"It was the only turnover of the game and usually that's what decides these game is turnovers," Soderberg said. "That was a big thing for us. We did score on it, but they let us score. That's key to winning football games is that you can't turn over the ball and our kids did a good job of that."
Poehls punched it in from 10-yards out with the Yellowjacket defense, allowing the touchdown, hoping to get the ball back. The Rebels recovered a surprise onside kick, running out the clock on the Yellowjackets.
"They got us on some big plays, but we moved the ball on them," Knutson said. "It's unfortunate that's the way it turns out. I feel bad for our guys. They are a great group of kids, they work hard and they love each other. We love them, but it just didn't work out."
The Rebels improve their mark to 9-1 overall and will play either Pequot Lakes or Aitkin in the Section 8AAA Championship. The Yellowjackets end the season with a record of 6-4. It marked the final game for 14 Yellowjacket seniors, who left their mark on the Perham program.
"They are outstanding young men. They are going to go off and do outstanding things after high school," Knutson said. "I'm so proud of them and I look forward to watching them with whatever they decide to do in life. I just wish it could have turned out different for them."
PER 0 6 6 0--12
DGF 0 13 0 13--26
DGF: Ethan Edeen 62-yard pass to Ryan Poehls (kick failed)
PER: Jenson Beachy 35-yard pass to Ty Moser (kick failed
DGF: Poehls 1-yard run (Drew Stalboerger kick)
PER: Beachy 58-yard pass to Reid Moser (run failed)
DGF: Poehls 69-yard run (kick failed)
DGF: Poehls 10-yard run (Stalboerger kick)